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UNITED STATES v. LIDDY

June 20, 1975

UNITED STATES of America
v.
George Gordon LIDDY et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIRICA

 SIRICA, District Judge.

 This matter comes before the Court on the motion of the defendant George Gordon Liddy for a reduction of sentence, filed May 19, 1975. The Court has carefully reviewed this motion and the memorandum filed in support thereof, and has taken into consideration all of those factors which are usually considered by most judges when passing upon such motions.

 The provision for such a motion under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure is intended to provide a means by which a convicted defendant may have a second chance before a sentencing judge, while giving the judge an opportunity to reconsider the initial sentence imposed in light of any further information concerning the defendant or the case which might have arisen and been brought to the attention of the Court in the interim. United States v. Ellenbogen, 390 F.2d 537, 543 (2 Cir.) cert. denied 393 U.S. 918, 89 S. Ct. 241, 21 L. Ed. 2d 206 (1968).

 When this defendant was sentenced, the Court mentioned the four principal reasons for imposing sentences. It was noted at that time that reprisal was not an appropriate purpose for which to sentence this defendant, and that rehabilitation, although considered, was not the principal consideration. The Court, however, emphasized the purposes of imposing just punishment for the grave offenses committed and of deterring others from engaging in such reprehensible conduct.

 The deterrent effect of the sentences, as one of the primary reasons for prescribing the term of incarceration for the defendant, is no less important now than it was at the time of his initial sentencing. As the prosecutor stated at that time:

 
". . . What these defendants have done . . . is not only violate the freedom of association of a major political party but perhaps more important . . . what they have done is to generate a fear . . . that this illegal activity, wiretapping, bugging and burglary for political purposes, is both widespread and condoned.
 
. . . [It] is important that the sentences imposed in this case . . . respond to this fear by deterring future conduct of this kind and by demonstrating that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated." *fn1"

 Similarly, the purpose of imposing punishment appropriate for the grave offenses of which the defendant was convicted has not been negated by the facts, circumstances or events which have come to the attention of the Court in the interim.

 The rehabilitative purpose to be served by Mr. Liddy's sentence must also be reconsidered. The need for the personal rehabilitation of this defendant has assumed even greater importance than it had two years ago due to the events that have occurred in the interim. A review of his present criminal record is revealing. When this defendant first appeared before the Court he had no criminal record, having never before been sentenced to jail or even having been convicted of an offense more serious than a traffic violation. However, on March 23, 1973, when he stood before this Court to be sentenced, he stood convicted of two counts of burglary, two counts of intercepting wire communications, one count of intercepting oral communications and one count of conspiracy. Since then, the defendant has been convicted by another jury of another felony charge, namely, conspiracy to violate the rights of a citizen; he has been found guilty of statutory contempt of court for refusing to testify before a Federal Grand Jury; and has been found guilty by another federal judge of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before a Congressional Committee. With the exception of the statutory contempt conviction, the sentences the defendant received for his other convictions were either suspended or made to run concurrently with the sentences imposed by this Court.

 Subsequent to his conviction and sentencing in this case, the defendant had several opportunities to provide valuable assistance to governmental investigating units by testifying as to his knowledge of certain alleged illegal activities. He was even granted immunity from prosecution for the testimony which he was subpoenaed to give. Yet, he refused to cooperate. It is reasonable for the Court to assume that this defendant had reason to know and believe that any further consideration he might receive from the Court concerning his sentence might be affected by his conduct after sentencing. In fact he was present in the courtroom when his co-defendants were specifically informed that their cooperation with the grand jury and the Senate Select Committee would be a relevant factor which the Court would consider in determining their final sentences.

 At that time this court stated to all of the defendants in the presence of Mr. Liddy:

 
". . . [None] of you have been willing to give the government or other appropriate authorities any substantial help in trying this case or in investigating the activities which were the subject of this case.
 
I think under the law, the Court is entitled to consider this fact in determining sentences.
 
* * *
 
I believe I may also properly suggest to you that in the interval between now and the time when the Bureau of Prisons studies are completed, you give serious consideration to lending your full cooperation to investigating authorities.
 
Now I want to speak plainly about this matter. You will, no doubt, be given an opportunity to provide information to the grand jury which has been, and still is, investigating the Watergate affair and to the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities.
 
I sincerely hope that each one of you will take full advantage of any such opportunity . . . .
 
* * *
 
Now I believe that the Watergate [Break-in] affair . . . should not be forgotten. Some good can and should come from a revelation of sinister conduct whenever and wherever such conduct exists. I am convinced that the greatest benefit that can come from this prosecution will be its impact as a spur to corrective action so that the type of activities revealed by the evidence at trial will not be repeated in our nation.
 
For these reasons, I recommend your full cooperation with the grand jury and the Senate Select Committee. You must understand that I hold out no promises or hopes of any kind to you in this matter but I do say that should you decide to speak freely I would have to weigh that factor in appraising what sentence will be finally imposed in this case. Other factors will, of course, be considered but I mention this one because it is one over which you have control and I mean each and every one of you." *fn2"

 Yet, despite this admonition by the Court and the fact that the Court subsequently gave consideration to other defendants on this basis, this defendant chose to continue to refuse to cooperate with the government investigations.

 In short, this defendant has not shown the Court the slightest remorse or regret for his actions, and has not given the Court even a hint of contrition or sorrow, nor has he made any attempt to compensate for his illegal actions by trying to aid our system of justice in its search for the truth.

 This defendant's obstinate disregard for the processes of law is difficult for the Court to comprehend. As was acknowledged on the day of sentencing, this defendant "has throughout his adult life been very interested and involved with the law . . . [and] been deeply involved in the law." *fn3" Clearly this is not the case in which one who is disadvantaged or uneducated breaks the law. This defendant is a well-educated man who has had considerable experience with the law and politics, having been a lawyer, an assistant district attorney, an FBI special agent, a Congressional candidate, a special assistant in the Organized Crime Section of the Treasury Department, and a White House aide. The Court noted when it sentenced the defendant:

 
"Now it is true that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse,' and that one may be held accountable for a failure to obey the law whether he has read the statute books or not. Despite this fact, however, the Court believes that the knowing and deliberate violation of laws deserves a greater condemnation than a simple careless or uncomprehending violation." *fn4"

 Mr. Liddy, in his motion for reduction of sentence, also specifically requests that the fines imposed at the time of sentencing be vacated. However, the Court notes that the defendant has not cooperated with investigators even so much as to try to explain whatever became of the approximately $199,000 which testimony at trial indicated was dispersed to Mr. Liddy. *fn5"

 The Court sees no reason to vacate the fine. Should the defendant be unable to pay the fine at the time when he has served his sentence, he will then have the opportunity to take a pauper's oath under the applicable statute (18 U.S.C. § 3569). At that time he will be able to satisfy this portion of his sentence by serving an additional thirty days imprisonment.

 In conclusion, the mitigating factors inherent in those cases in which a defendant has displayed some personal remorse or regret for his actions and has demonstrated a desire to reform his conduct to conform to the simple standards of a lawful society are absent in this case.

 In the interim which has passed since the Court sentenced the defendant in this case, no information has been brought to the attention of the Court which would move this Court to reduce the sentence of the defendant. The Court can only repeat what it stated at the initial sentencing of Mr. Liddy:

 
"I shall not attempt to enumerate every item which the Court has pondered. Numerous other considerations, both favorable and unfavorable to the defendants, have played a part in the Court's decisions. Suffice it to say that the sentences which the Court will now impose, are the result of careful thought extending over a period of several weeks. I think the sentences are appropriate and just." *fn6"

 For the reasons above stated, it is this 20th day of June, 1975,

 Ordered that the defendant's motion for reduction of sentence be, and the same hereby is, denied.

 APPENDIX

 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs GEORGE GORDON LIDDY, et al Criminal No. 1827-72

 (Friday, March 23, 1973

 The defendants in the above-entitled cause appeared before THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUDGE JOHN J. SIRICA for sentencing at 10:00 o'clock a.m.

 APPEARANCES:

 
On Behalf of the United States:
 
EARL SILBERT, Ass't. U. S. Attorney
 
SEYMOUR GLANZER, Ass't. U. S. Attorney
 
DONALD CAMPBELL, Ass't. U. S. Attorney
 
On Behalf of Defendant Liddy:
 
PETER MAROULIS, Esq.
 
THOMAS A. KENNELLY, Esq.
 
On Behalf of Defendant Hunt:
 
WILLIAM O. BITTMAN, Esq.
 
AUSTIN S. MITTLER, Esq.
 
On Behalf of Defendant McCord:
 
GERALD ALCH, Esq.
 
BERNARD SHANKMAN, Esq.
 
On Behalf of Defendants Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, Frank Sturgis, and Virgilio Gonzalez:
 
DANIEL SCHULTZ, Esq.
 
PROCEEDINGS
 
(Defendants present in court.)
 
THE COURT: Good morning.

 The defendant Mr. McCord sent a letter to me last Tuesday, March 20th, by way of a probation officer. In the presence of the probation officer, my two law clerks and the court reporter I opened the envelope and read into the record the two enclosures it contained. The letters and the transcript were then sealed until further order of the Court. I have considered this communication from Mr. McCord as a supplement to the presentence report in his case. I am now ordering unsealed those letters and the transcript of proceedings of March 20, 1973. They will be filed in the record. The two letters are brief and I will read them now for the benefit of counsel before we proceed further. Let me have the letter.

 
(The clerk unsealed the envelope and handed the contents to the Court.)

 The first one I shall read is a copy of a letter dated March 19, addressed to Mr. Walter Rugaber of the New York Times, Washington, D.C.:

 
"Dear Mr. Rugaber:
 
"The New York Times issue of March 19, 1973, page 30 carries a story relative to an alleged strong-arm activities attributed to Mr. Bernard Barker and associates by one Reinaldo Pico. In the article by juxtaposition my name is mentioned in connection with such activities.
 
"As I have telephonically advised your office after seeing the article I have no knowledge of or connection with any such strong-arm activities referred to in the article. Neither have I ever met Mr. Pico to my knowledge.
 
"You made no effort to contact my attorneys or me prior to publication of the article which I regret since we could have stated for publication what I just said above.
 
Very truly yours,
 
James W. McCord, Jr."

 The other letter dated March 19 on the letterhead of James W. McCord, Jr., 7 Winder Court, Rockville, Maryland, addressed to Judge Sirica states:

 
"Certain questions have been posed to me from your honor through the probation officer, dealing with details of the case, motivations, intent and mitigating circumstances.
 
"In endeavoring to respond to these questions, I am whipsawed in a variety of legalities. First, I may be called before a Senate Committee investigating this matter. Secondly, I may be involved in a civil suit; and thirdly there may be a new trial at some future date. Fourthly, the probation officer may be called before the Senate Committee to present testimony regarding what may otherwise be a privileged communication between defendant and Judge, as I understand it; if I answered certain questions to the probation officer, it is possible such answers could become a matter of record in the Senate and therefore available for use in the other proceedings just described. My answers would, it would seem to me, to violate my Fifth Amendment rights, and possibly my Sixth Amendment right to counsel and possibly other rights.
 
"On the other hand, to fail to answer your questions may appear to be non-cooperation, and I can therefore expect a much more severe sentence.
 
"There are further considerations which are not to be lightly taken. Several members of my family have expressed fear for my life if I disclose knowledge of the facts in this matter, either publicly or to any government representative. Whereas I do not share their concerns to the same degree, nevertheless, I do believe that retaliatory measures will be taken against me, my family, and my friends should I disclose such facts. Such retaliation could destroy careers, income, and reputations of persons who are innocent of any guilt whatever.
 
"1. There was political pressure applied to the defendants to plead guilty and remain silent.
 
"2. Perjury occurred during the trial in matters highly material to the very structure, orientation, and impact of the government's case, and to the motivation and intent of the defendants.
 
"3. Others involved in the Watergate operation were not identified during the trial, when they could have been by those testifying.
 
"4. The Watergate operation was not a CIA operation. The Cubans may have been misled by others into believing that it was a CIA operation. I know for a fact that it was not.
 
"5. Some statements were unfortunately made by a witness which left the Court with the impression that he was stating untruths, or withholding facts of his knowledge, when in fact only honest errors of memory were involved.
 
"6. My motivations were different than those of the others involved, but were not limited to, or simply those offered in my defense during the trial. This is no fault of my attorneys, but of the circumstances under which we had to prepare my defense.
 
"Following sentence, I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you privately in chambers. Since I cannot feel confident in talking with an FBI agent, in testifying before a Grand Jury whose U. S. Attorneys work for the Department of Justice, or in talking with other government representatives, such a discussion with you would be of assistance to me.
 
"I have not discussed the above with my attorneys as a matter of protection for them.
 
"I give this statement freely and voluntarily, fully realizing that I may be prosecuted for giving a false statement to a Judicial official, if the statements herein are knowingly untrue. The statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
 
James W. McCord, Jr."

 We will take a 20 minute recess and I will hear any comments from any attorneys on this.

 (Brief recess taken at 10:10 a.m.)

 AFTER RECESS -- 10:40 a. m.

 (Defendants present in the courtroom.)

 THE COURT: Mr. Maroulis, I will hear you in connection with the motions you filed.

 MR. MAROULIS: Your Honor, I am submitting on both of those motions.

 THE COURT: Are you ready, counsel?

 MR. ALCH: Your Honor, without intending to undermine the issues raised in my motion, I also submit on the papers filed.

 THE COURT: The motions will be denied.

 Ask Mr. Liddy to step forward, please.

  (Defendant Liddy approached the lectern.)

  THE COURT: Does counsel for Mr. Liddy have anything to say before sentence is imposed in this case?

  Mr. Maroulis, I will hear you.

  MR. MAROULIS: Yes, sir.

  Your Honor has before him the report of the Probation Department and I submitted to the Probation Department some comments that I requested ...


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